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First Premier Bank


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Fees, Fees and MORE Fees
Posted by Mario The Great on 02/05/2008
So, my day hasn't gotten any shorter and my fuse is almost lit. Ever since I declared bankruptcy 4 years ago, this lovely bank has been sending me unsolicited and unwanted offers. I decided to post this for everyone to let them know how bad they truly are.


First Premier Bank

The offer looks pretty good. "Your Gold MasterCard is Pre-Approved! 9.9% APR Fixed" the envelope shouts. Inside is an effusive offering that rattles on about the "premium benefits" and the attractive 9.9% fixed rate. For those with shaky credit, it sounds good -- no security deposit or savings account required.

Ah but wait -- what are all these fees on the disclosure statement?

Disclosure Statement

* Account set-up fee: $29 (one-time fee)
* Program fee: $95 (one-time fee)
* Annual fee: $48
* Monthly Servicing Fee: $84 annually
* Additional card fee: $20 (if applicable)
* Transaction fee for cash advances: Greater of $5 or 3% of the cash advance

Oh but wait, there's more. There's ...

* Credit limit increase fee: $25
* Return item charge: $25
* Autodraft fee: $11 per draft or $7 for phone/intenet payment
* Express delivery fee: $25 for cards sent PRIORITY 2-day airmail
* Copying fee: $3 per item
* Wire Transfer fee: $5 per transaction
* Internet access fee: $3.95

This almost looks like a satire -- as though someone sat down and dreamed up as many fees as possible for comic effect. Program fee? Participation fee? Account set-up fee? Since when are these normal credit card charges?

Just to prove it's all heart, First Premier doesn't charge the whole $84 participation fee upfront, it parcels it out at $7 per month. Even so, adding up the start-up fees would be a minimum of $179 and possibly more if the mysterious copying fee, Internet access fee, etc. were added on.

The kicker to this ludicrous scenario is that the letter gives no hint what credit limit the consumer has been "pre-approved" for. It does say the the initial credit limit will be at least $250. With a few hundred dollars worth of upfront fees, that doesn't leave much room for error. Naturally, if the account is delinquent for two consecutive billing cycles two times in any six-month period, the 9.9% interest rate suddenly becomes 19.9% and then reduced back to 9.9% if the account is kept current for 3 consecutive months or is paid in full.

All in all, it's a good argument for paying cash.

Beware that this company does business under several other names (Centennial Visa is one), but over the years, they are all still based out of Sioux Falls, SD. If you see this on an envelope, throw it in the trash.

     
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Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2008-02-05:
Good info!! (VH)
Posted by MRM on 2008-02-05:
Internet access fee just to check your account online?!?!... thats insane. I proudly bank with BoA and they dont charge any of the above.
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-02-05:
* Annual fee: $48
* Monthly Servicing Fee: $84 annually

Did anyone else notice this is the same charge only phrased differently? They charge a MONTHLY FEE ANNUALLY?!?! I suppose they charge the annual fee monthly then?
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-05:
WOW...I am shocked. I'm speechless - without speech. Seriously Mario, you're kidding right? I don't believe it... You filed bankruptcy?
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-05:
I'm with MRM, Internet Access Fee? Annual fee? Monthly Fee? If I read this correctly, they break the annual fee down to 7.00 monthly and on top of that charge you the 84.00 annually for the monthly fee. It's like someone sat there to think of ways to rip off people with bad or no credit. What a scam card. That's totally insane. I don't have any of those through my credit union visa. Free online account, no annual fee, no monthly fee, fixed APR of 2.9%.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-05:
fixed APR of 2.9%??? I hope you keep that card maxed out.
Posted by Mario The Great on 2008-02-05:
Stew, times were tough 4 years ago. Going from 75K a year to 0 and blowing through savings in 6 months, I can sure appreciate the finer things in life now. Bankruptcy was the best thing to happen to me. I got rid of everything I possibly didn't need, kept no credit cards, cars, house or anything and started a new job in a different field. 4 years later, I'm doing much better and my credit score is back to 700+. Companies like First Bank should go away, but people don't care about the fees. When people want or need something, they'll take anything.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-05:
Stew that card has been paid off for years. I just used it to buy the couch and paid it off yesterday. Apparently we got grandfathered in and they can't change our rate because of the agreement we signed.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-05:
Princi, take a $5,000 advance, go to the local credit union and get a 6% 12 month CD. You will make 3% off the bank.

(just kidding)
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-05:
Mario ~~ I was funnin with ya. I for one see bankruptcy as a valid financial tool sans any stigma. It's as American as apple pie. Somehow the lenders turned it into something dirty.

Principissa... You can get 5% or more on a savings account pretty easy these days. Anytime I can make money floating money I do it. But then again it's in my gene pool.
Posted by chris513 on 2008-02-05:
Stew, I agree w/ you 100 percent on all aspects of your last statement.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-05:
Stew is the voice of wisdom here.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-05:
He is. We're trying to invest another 3-4%, anyone have any good ideas for us?
Posted by Mario The Great on 2008-02-05:
I know you were kidding. :) I can be just as sarcastic as anyone else. Applied Bank also does something similar, but they charge $12.95 per month for the account maintenance fee plus 11.95 to pay over the internet. Instead of wasting time fighting the war on terrorism, our govt. should be spending time fighting wars on sick, greedy and disgusting companies that do this.
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-02-05:
My lobster dinner investment idea, let me show you it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-05:
Princi, I have been buying Euro's. I make a couple points a month. Not very American I know but what the hey, Bush created this mess not us. I just go to a fee free exchange booth and buy them with cash. You can see the tax benefits in that right? As soon as the dollar gets healthy we sell them.
Posted by chris513 on 2008-02-05:
Princi, my favorite company that I am invested in right now is Partner Communications (PTNR)....feel free to check them out. If you go to my blog, there is a link to www.sharebuilder.com and you can get a quote on them that will show up to a 5 year history
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-05:
Super that's an awesome idea.
chris, I'm gonna go check out that site and see what it looks like. Thanks to both of you.
Gothic, I'm taking you up on that lobster dinner idea. My birthday is next month, girl's gotta eat something right? :)
Posted by chris513 on 2008-02-05:
Also to add to that, Sonic Corp (SONC)...from marketwatch.com-1/04/08 Shares of Sonic Inc. (SONC) tacked on 3.5%. The drive-in restaurant chain operator said Thursday that its first-quarter profit fell to $13.6 million, or 22 cents a share, from $15.3 million, or 19 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts had estimated a profit of 21 cents a share. The company reiterated its outlook of a 15% to 17% increase of earnings per share in 2008 over 2007's 96 cents a share.
Posted by chris513 on 2008-02-05:
Also, now I am rambling...LOL...I have a friend who I deal cards w/ and he just buys in and out of the market during the day (NASDAQ, Dow Jones, ETC)..he seems to do pretty well w/ it, but it takes alot more work, IMHO...Hey, my birthday is Friday...I would like some lobster.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-05:
LOL, mine is the day before St. Patrick's day.
Posted by chris513 on 2008-02-05:
Nice...one of my fave party days of the year...besides July 4th.
Posted by Nformed on 2008-02-05:
So let me get this right. They sent you a credit card offer that had all the terms on it. I dont think you should accept that offer. They are a business, and will try to make money. You have the option to not accept their offer. That is a lot of fees. But at least they were upfront. IMHO they did not do anything wrong.
Posted by Ponie on 2008-02-06:
Mario, you have the patience of Job! I sometimes open these 'offers'--but mostly just toss them.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-06:
Ponie we got an offer the other day for a 0 interest for 1 year no fee for balance transfer. Way way at the bottom, in teeny tiny print it said "APR after 1 year promotion 29.95%APR. Free balance transfer for select customers only." That was hilarious. Entice me with free balance transfers and then say well, you may qualify you may not, you just have to transfer and see.
Posted by laklisa on 2008-02-06:
*sigh* I can relate all too well-I was a sucker that fell for First Premier. I was with them a year before I closed the account (right before they charged the annual fee). From then on it was $3/mo for account servicing. I finally transferred the remaining bal to another card a few months ago. Even after it was transferred and the balance was zero, they still tried to charge me the servicing fee. I called them and they confirmed that the fee was removed.
Talk about hard (and expensive) lesson!
Posted by DieselBoi on 2008-02-08:
The fees are a bit excessive, but I feel like they are partially justified. They are offering a second chance to people with bad credit and a less than stelar history of payment. They have every right to demand a premium fee. I see it as them covering their own asses in case history repeats itself. If you don't like the card, toss out the application. There will be better offers I'm sure.
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Follow up to First Premier Bank Credit Cards - 79.9% APR!!!
Posted by Mario The Great on 12/18/2009
This is a follow up to First Premier Bank and the Credit Card that they offer. My original posting was this one: http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=33068 I was perusing websites today and came across this lovely information about how First Premier is trying to sneak under the legislation. If there was a way to shut this company down, I would do everything in my power to do so. Here's the comments:

Newest credit card trick? 79.9 percent interest

First Premier skirting new regulations intended to curb abusive practices

updated 5:42 P.M. MT, Thurs., Dec. 17, 2009
NEW YORK - It's no mistake. This credit card's interest rate is 79.9 percent.

The bloated APR is how First Premier Bank, a subprime credit card issuer, is skirting new regulations intended to curb abusive practices in the industry. It's a strategy other subprime card issuers could start adopting to get around the new rules.

Typically, the First Premier card comes with a minimum of $256 in fees in the first year for a credit line of $250. Starting in February, however, a new law will cap such fees at 25 percent of a card's credit line.

In a recent mailing for a preapproved card, First Premier lowers fees to just that limit — $75 in the first year for a credit line of $300. But the new law doesn't set a cap on interest rates. Hence the 79.9 APR, up from the previous 9.9 percent.

"It's the highest on the market. It's the highest we've ever seen," said Anuj Shahani, an analyst with Synovate, a research firm that tracks credit card mailings.

The terms are eyebrow raising, but First Premier targets people with bad credit who likely can't get approved for cards elsewhere. It's a group that tends to lean heavily on credit too, meaning they'll likely incur the steep financing charges.

So for a $300 balance, a cardholder would pay about $20 a month in interest.

First Premier said the 79.9 APR offer is a test and that it's too early to tell whether it will be continued, according to an e-mailed statement. To comply with the new law, the bank said it will no longer offer the card that has $256 in first-year fees as of Feb. 21, 2010. However, customers will still be able to use their existing cards. The bank said "no final decisions" have been made regarding any rate changes for those cards.

First Premier noted that it needed to "price our product based on the risk associated with this market."

The bank declined to specify how many people were offered the 79.9 APR card.

According to First Premier's Web site, the credit cards are serviced by its sister organization Premier Bankcard. The company, based in Sioux Falls, S. D., says Premier Bankcard is the 10th largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa cards in the country, with more than 3.5 million customers.

In a mailing sent to prospective customers in October with the revamped terms, First Premier writes "...you might have less-than-perfect credit and we're OK with that." The letter notes that an online application or phone call is still required, but guarantees a 60-second status confirmation.

The letter also states there are no hidden fees that aren't disclosed in the attached form. That's where the 79.9 percent interest rate and $75 annual fee are listed. There's also $29 penalty if you pay late or go over your $300 credit limit.

Even if First Premier doesn't stick with the 79.9 APR, it will likely hike rates considerably from the current 9.9 percent to offset the lower fees, said Shahani of Synovate.

The revamped terms may not be the only changes; First Premier also appears to be moving away from the riskiest borrowers.

The bank typically mails offers to subprime households, meaning those with credit scores below 700. In the third quarter, however, 84 percent of its offers were sent to subprime households, down from 91 percent the same period last year, according to Synovate.

First Premier could be cleaning up its credit card portfolio since the new regulations will limit its ability to raise interest rates. That could mean First Premier won't issue cards as liberally to those with bad credit.

As harsh as First Premier's terms seem, that could be a blow to those who rely on the card, said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of CardHub.com.

"Even when the cost of credit is astronomical, for people in true emergencies, it's much better than not having access to credit," said Papadimitriou.

Until Feb. 21, First Premier is still offering its even-higher-fee card online. So the price for credit the bank charges is at least $256 in first-year fees.
     
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Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2009-12-19:
This card is for people with horrible credit. They are not going to get a credit card from any other source. If they need one badly enough, say a new job required them to be able to rent a car from time to time, then they would be willing to pay the fees.

And of course, the easiest way to avoid this interest rate is to pay the bill in full every month.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2009-12-19:
Even when all of the new regulations go into effect I have no doubt whatsoever that the banks will simply put new labels on old fees and continue fleecing their customers out of just as much money as they always have. Net monetary result: No change.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Yeah this CC seems to be for people with bad credit. Maybe they purposely have a high interest rate to teach these people with bad credit to pay their bill off every month.....or pay exuberant fees. Any person with decent credit and brains would never apply for that card.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Wow I went to their website and clicked on the details of their credit card. Holy cow you should see all the fees they charge.

Annual Percentage Rate for Purchases and Cash Advances 9.9%
Fees for Issuance or Availability of Credit Account Set-up Fee: $29.00 (one-time fee)
Program Fee: $95.00 (one-time fee)
Annual Fee: $48.00
Monthly Servicing Fee: $84.00 Annually1
Additional Card Fee: $20.00 Annually per card, (if applicable)

Available Credit and Cash Advance Limitations: The initial minimum credit limit will be at least $250.00 and the following fees will be billed to your first statement: Account Set-Up Fee of $29.00, the Program Fee of $95.00, the Annual Fee of $48.00, the Additional Card Fee of $20.00 per card (if applicable) and Monthly Servicing Fee of $7.00. These fees will reduce your available credit until they are paid. If you are assigned the minimum credit limit of $250.00 your initial available credit will be $71.00 ($51.00 if you select the additional card option).
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2009-12-19:
These kinds of cards are for fools. And there is no shortage of them. Otherwise these card issuers would not be as successful as they are.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
Its like something you would see on South Park.....We charge you the Bend Over and take it up the you know what fee, and the Fee for charging you the Fee and the Fee for breathing, and the fee for being stupid enough to apply fee.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2009-12-19:
Tennboy, how did you overlook the postage recovery fee for the application?
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2009-12-19:
In addition to the already indicated crap the bank is spewing their "Terms" as stated are totally worthless and without any integrity whatsoever.

Check this statement in their "Terms":

"Changes to Rate, Fees and Terms: We may change the terms of your account, including the APRs, in accordance with the Credit Card Contract that will be sent with your Card."

Pretty much negates anything stated on the website. Who, other than a fool, would agree to something that is to be provided AFTER you agree. Ridiculous!!
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2009-12-19:
Here is one more piece of garbage from these scum bags:

"Your Consent for Calls and/or Text Messages to Your Cellular Phone. If we collect your cellular phone number from you, from another source, or as a result of receiving a cellular phone call from you, you expressly consent to accept from us, our affiliates or any third party acting on our behalf:

1. Calls or text messages for collection purposes or for other account-related purposes, such as to process your application.
2. Calls or text messages that we initiate to your cellular phone number made or transmitted using any automatic telephone dialing system and/or contain prerecorded messages.

You agree you will be responsible for any fees or charges you incur as a result of incoming calls or text messages from us, from our affiliates or from any third party acting on behalf of us or our affiliates."

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-19:
lol hilarious. And theres people out there that actually apply for this card. Your available balance if you get a 250 dollar credit end up being 71 dollars your first month! Thats all you can charge is 71 dollars because they want you to pay all the fees first! how reddiculous. I cant believe the owner of the bank puts his face on the front of the webpage.
Posted by uncommon on 2010-03-09:
What do people expect? This card is for people who present an extremely high risk to the issuer. If a person is using a First Premier card for any purpose other than to build up their credit history, they are stupid. If you pay off the balance every month, these inflated interest rates don't matter.
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Bad Customer Service
Posted by MATTMAN on 05/31/2007
75061, TEXAS -- Talk about customer service gone bad. Well I have a story for you. I applied for a card from First Premier Bank and got a real one on one don't care hangup in your face attitude.

It all started a few months ago when a decided to rebuild my credit, so I bought a card. When I say bought a card I mean paying $178 in fees upfront for a card that was used only 3 times. I was charged $15 for late charges and I lose $178 for closing my account. Thats not the end of it by a long shot. The bill collector that called me was rude and the Manager hung up in my face. Tell me what I should do someone please!!!! Angry father of 4 girls.


     
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Posted by Sarah May on 2007-05-31:
He hung up in your face? Weird...
I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
That sucks about your credit though. Thanks for the warning about the card.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-31:
Did you read the terms? They are clearly worded what you are getting into and you did SIGN the agreement. Sorry about the missed payment but you were warned. They have always been pleasant with me.
Posted by rhondam718732 on 2007-05-31:
You are dancing around the real issue...why is the account closed/closing? Sounds like you were late or didn't pay. If so, and they choose to close the account well that's on you. If you decide to rebuild your credit and pay that kind of $ to start a new card you absolutely can't afford to be late ever.
Posted by rebelnrocker on 2007-05-31:
I'm always getting solicited from those First Premier people. When I see their charges I about crap myself! :-) It sucks paying so much to build credit up again, but I will have to agree w/ zzrokk & rhondam.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-31:
"Tell me what I should do someone please!!!! Angry father of 4 girls". What?!
ANSWER) In the words of a fellow member and friend on here: Pay your bills!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-31:
I must agree with the rest even know it sucks you gat to pay them bills.
Posted by DieselBoi on 2008-02-03:
I'm confused as to why you would pay all that money for the card in an attempt to re-establish your credit and then not pay the bill on time or even the minimum payment at least. I really don't think there is anything you can do about it. Perhaps a debit card is a better choice.
Posted by msull on 2009-06-26:
i am dealing with the same situation myself. They closed the account even thought i made a payment. the bill collectors are rude and will not accept that I am trying to make payments I can afford. My other credit card is in good standing as are all my other bills.

The intial fees - they were not stated clearly and only after you hit confirm.
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First Premier Bank holding on to what doesnt belong to them
Posted by JCTennyson on 04/03/2007
SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA -- I have been a Secured Credit Card user with First Premier Bank for several years. I called in earlier this year to ask if I could transition into an unsecured card. At the time I was given a series of hopes to jump thru in order to do the transition. Because of the level of complication to do so I decided to close my account which at the time had been paid off except for $2 in automatic service fees from First Premier Bank. When I called I told the bank representative that I did not want to go thru the lengthy process that had been described to me and that I would like to close my account and have the deposit and its interest sent to me as soon as possible. The last few account statements dated 03/26/07 has the last transaction of a payment (my security deposit of $336.34) posted on 01/26. I called on 04/03/07 and was told that no request had been made to return my deposit. I was told that I would need to make a verbal request (30 days before processing would proceed) or fax in a writing (7 days before processing would precede) request to receive MY money. I tried to explain to the service representative (during which I was talked over on several occasions) the fact that I had requested to receive my deposit with interest at the time of the first request. The service representative repeated during our conversation several times that it did not matter what was discussed during the initial call that if a mistake was mad by someone else at First Premier Bank that we could not look back we can only look forward this statement being an oxymoron nothing to with customer service. As of today it has been 65 days since my deposit was applied to the card balance. This is well past the 30 days request for my deposit First Premier Bank and are still holding on to my deposit. I am requesting my money As soon as Possible.

     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2007-04-03:
South Dakota has some very loose credit card usury laws which is why all the credit card companies operate from there. Try filing a complaint with your state attorney general and the AG in S.D. They will not do much but the complaint might make First Premier Bank act right. A large number of complaints against First Premier Bank will cause them greif.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-10:
Lol JayD!
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